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MLB Odds for the 2020 AL and NL Cy Young Awards

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The start of the 2020 MLB season has been pushed back due to coronavirus but we still expect to fire up the barbecue, crack open a cold one and watch America’s pastime by the summer.

With plenty of time to get your futures bets in order before the baseball season begins, let’s take a look at the betting odds for the 2020 AL and NL Cy Young awards.

ODDS TO WIN AL CY YOUNG AWARD

Player Odds to win AL Cy Young Award
Gerrit Cole +150
Justin Verlander +600
Corey Kluber +1,000
Blake Snell +1,000
Tyler Glasnow +1,000
Shane Bieber +1,000
Lucas Giolito +1,200
Mike Clevinger +1,400
Chris Sale +1,400
Zach Greinke +2,000

THE FAVORITE

Gerrit Cole +150

Cole would have been a deserving choice last year but lost in a close vote to his former Astros teammate Justin Verlander. Cole went 20-5 while leading the league in both ERA (2.50) and strikeouts (326).

After two years in Houston, Cole joined the Yankees in the offseason on a nine-year $324 million contract. One factor that may affect Cole’s chances in 2020 is that he could have a bit of a learning curve pitching in a new ballpark, especially a hitter-friendly spot like Yankee Stadium.

SHARP MONEY

Lucas Giolito +1,200

The White Sox right-hander has seen his odds rise from the +2,000 he was listed at in February. Giolito is a former elite prospect who broke through last season with Chicago. After a disappointing 2018 season where he posted a 6.13 ERA and walked 90 batters, Giolito stepped up his game in 2019, going 14-9 with a 1.06 WHIP and fanning 228 batters while walking 57.

Giolito emerged as an All-Star despite being hampered with a lat strain and a hamstring injury. If he’s 100 percent healthy, he could be even better in 2020.

BEST VALUE BET

Tyler Glasnow +1,800

Glasnow missed a large stretch of last season with a forearm injury, but when healthy the 26-year-old was one of the best in the business. The 6-foot-8 righthander had a 1.78 ERA with 76 strikeouts and just 14 walks in 60 2/3 innings in 2019. He was on pace for a whopping 7.6 WAR before injuries derailed his year.

Glasnow has incredible stuff, throwing with outstanding velocity and tremendous spin. With his command getting better he could be a sneaky bet for the Cy Young.

ODDS TO WIN NL CY YOUNG AWARD

Players Odds to win NL Cy Young award
Jacob deGrom +250
Max Scherzer +400
Jack Flaherty +500
Walker Buehler +600
Yu Darvish +1,600
Stephen Strasburg +1,600
Clayton Kershaw +2,000
Luis Castillo +2,000
Aaron Nola +2,000
Noah Syndergaard +2,000

THE FAVORITE

Jacob deGrom +250

After winning back-to-back Cy Young awards deGrom is the favorite to win again in 2020. DeGrom had another dominant season for the Mets in 2019 despite a modest 11-8 record. He posted a 2.43 ERA and a 0.97 WHIP while striking out 255 batters in 204 innings of work.

That said, deGrom needed a fantastic end to the year after a mediocre start where he went just 4-7 with a 3.27 ERA before the All-Star break. With lots of pitching competition in the National League it will be very difficult for deGrom to claim his third Cy Young in a row.

SHARP MONEY

Yu Darvish +1,600

Darvish was listed at +3,000 just one month ago but his odds have increased massively since then. The 33-year-old Cubs hurler finished last year on a high-note with a 2.76 ERA and a 0.81 WHIP in 13 starts after the All-Star break.

However, Darvish hasn’t been a Cy Young contender since his second year in the majors which was all the way back in 2013.

BEST VALUE BET

Jack Flaherty +500

There was only one NL pitcher more impressive in the second half of the season than deGrom and that was Flaherty. The Cardinals right-hander went 7-2 with an incredible 0.77 ERA and a BAA of .131 in August and September.

Flaherty is 24 years old and is just starting to tap into his vast potential. If he continues this year where he left off last year, this award could be his to lose.

UNDERSTANDING CY YOUNG ODDS

Most sportsbooks will display odds in the American format as listed above. When Justin Verlander looked to have the AL Cy Young locked up last September, his odds had a minus (-) sign ahead of the number.

  • Justin Verlander -300

That means that a bettor in September had to wager $300 to win $100 by betting on Verlander. Since this year’s race hasn’t even begun yet, every candidate currently has a (+) sign in front of their number.

  • Gerrit Cole +150

With Cole’s current odds, a bettor stands to profit $150 for every $100 wagered on him.

If American odds aren’t your thing, simply use a tool like our odds converter to switch the odds to decimal or fractional format. Most online sportsbooks also give you the option to change the odds format that you see.

HOW TO BET FUTURES ODDS

Futures betting is different than betting on an individual game because you need to consider the long haul as opposed to a single event. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when betting futures odds.

Change your strategy at different points in the season

While some futures bets must be placed before the season begins and are then removed off the board (such as team win totals), other wagers will change odds as the season goes on.

If you are wagerig money on a futures bet with changing odds keep in mind that there is less variance at the beginning of the season (when more players and teams are still in contention) and more variance as the season goes on (when teams and players at the top separate themselves from those at the bottom).

In the preseason and beginning of the season, betting on dark horses can prove very profitable. But as the season continues, expect to see odds tighten around the favorites. At that point it becomes wise to focus on the players near the top of the odds board and betting big underdogs is practically like giving your money away.

Look for value with underdogs

While the bigger names tend to be strong favorites, there are also live long shots that can provide tremendous value. Look at younger players on the verge of breaking out, or guys that have already been playing at a high level but could take the next step now that they are in an ideal situation with a new team, coach or system.

Other players that can give a great payout are established stars coming off under-performing years due to injuries or other factors. If you’re lucky you might be able to catch them in a bounce-back year.

Follow the narrative

When placing futures bets on individual awards, keep in mind that voters, not a scoreboard are often the deciding factor. Voters can be influenced by a variety of factors, including media coverage and public opinion. Consider what the media narrative is for a particular season and which players they seem to be rooting for and against.

For example in Lebron James’ first season in Miami he was viewed as a villain or heel by the media and Derrick Rose who ended up winning MVP was the perfect foil for that. When Ron Dayne won the Heisman trophy back in 1999 it was viewed by many as a well-deserved reward for his entire career at Wisconsin.

Research historical trends

Historical trends, especially recent ones, can give you a good idea of which way voters tend to lean.

The NBA MVP for example, almost always goes to a player on the best or second-best regular season team in the league. While the Heisman trophy is almost exclusively given to a quarterback or running back – and over the last couple of decades has been overwhelmingly handed out to QBs.

Identifying those trends is a good way to seperate the true contenders from the pretenders.

Longshots to consider when betting the Shoemaker Mile

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Monday’s Shoemaker Miles Stakes at Santa Anita Park is a great race for a number of reasons. For starters, the Shoemaker Mile is a Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series “Win and You’re In” race that offers the winner a guaranteed spot in the 2020 Breeders’ Cup Mile at Keeneland.

Watch the Shoemaker Mile on Monday, May 25 from 6-8 p.m. ET on NBCSN, NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app.

The race also features last year’s Preakness Stakes winner, War of Will, making his season debut. Despite his triumphs on the dirt in 2019, War of Will started his career on the turf and his pedigree suggests that he’s very likely to be just as successful on the grass. That said, the Shoemaker Mile will be his first start off of a six-month break, and I’m going to try to take a swing or two with some horses who could upset the apple cart at longer odds.

Let’s start out with the horse on the rail, Without Parole. He won the Group 1 St. James’s Palace Stakes going a mile at Ascot back in 2018. His three other career wins have all came at this mile distance as well. Granted, he hasn’t won in six races since the St. James’s Palace but he did finish a fast-closing third two starts ago in a much tougher U.S. debut in the TVG Breeders’ Cup MileIrad Ortiz Jr. rode Without Parole in that race and he will reclaim the mount on him again on Monday.

Without Parole has only had one race this year and it was in the Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational in which he finished second to last. However, he had several excuses right from the start of that race when he got squeezed coming out of the gate. He also raced in traffic throughout and got cut off several times in the stretch before Frankie Dettori — who had come from Europe to ride him at Gulfstream — finally just wrapped up on him. The Pegasus World Cup Turf also was a race that didn’t allow him to run on Lasix (furosemide) after he’d shown significant improvement racing on Lasix for the first time at the Breeders’ Cup.

Stream the 2020 Shoemaker Mile live here

How much of a factor might Lasix be for some horses? Well, let’s next look at the horse who finished last in the Pegasus World Cup Turf: Next Shares. In his following start (back on Lasix) in the Grade 1 Frank E. Kilroe Mile Stakes, Next Shares finished third (beaten just a neck) to River Boyne. Both Next Shares and River Boyne return in the Shoemaker Mile and I prefer the former as a pace play who has plenty of back-class. If you rewatch the Kilroe Mile, Next Shares covered a lot more ground than River Boyne. With a similar effort, Next Shares could certainly turn the tables.

The other thing to like about Next Shares is that his trainer, Richard Baltas, has entered speedster Neptune’s Storm in the Shoemaker Mile. That horse, along with Voodoo Song, should ensure a very brisk pace up front — they’ll also be kept honest by Blitzkrieg and War of Will, both of whom usually race on or near the lead. All of that speed adds up to good news for Next Shares. He’s a Grade 1 winner who has always done his best running when he’s had some pace to run into. The other two keys for him (like all stalking or closing-type runners) is clear running room late, and hopefully he’ll get that with Hall of Fame rider John Velazquez taking the mount.

Lastly, we should take a look at True Valour. It’s hard to make much of an excuse for his flat finish in the Kilroe last out, but he’s truly performed better than what his results on paper might indicate. In the Thunder Road Stakes in February, he looked pretty keen early and it took him a few strides to settle down without throwing his head around and fighting his rider. Turning for home, it was clear that jockey Andrea Atzeni had plenty of horse under him but was just waiting for some running room. It ended up coming too late because River Boyne was in a better spot and had already taken command. True Valour did split horses nicely in the closing stages and was half a jump away from finishing second.

If you go back to the Breeders’ Cup Mile, True Valour had excuses there, too. He was up on heels early and he again took a little bit of time to settle down into a comfortable stride. Then, turning for him, he was just waiting for running room but instead got stuck behind a wall of horses. True Valour ended up steadying pretty badly and lost all chance at that point. I’m a little worried about how headstrong he tends to be early in races, but there’s a scenario here that could have at least two horses battling for the lead early and opening up some daylight on the rest of the field. That means he’ll be less likely to be running up on anyone’s heels and it also ensures that he’ll have a nice setup. Whether he can navigate clear passage late in the race is a separate matter.

Longshot Selections

#1 Without Parole

#3 Next Shares

#2 True Valour

Watch the Shoemaker Mile on Monday, May 25 from 6-8 p.m. ET on NBCSN, NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app.

How to bet an exacta on a horse race

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Betting an exacta can present a challenge on several levels.

There is, of course, the primary need to analyze past performances and decide which horses are going to finish first and second.

Yet because of the inherently lower payoffs as opposed to what you’ll find in a Pick 3 or Pick 4, you’ll need to structure your wagers effectively in order to turn your selections into a profitable wager.

For starters, an exacta can be a simple wager. If you like two horses equally, you can just box them in the exacta and collect so long as they finish 1-2 in any order. If you like one of them a little more, you can then bet more on the one you prefer, say $10 on a 1-2 exacta and $5 on 2-1.

If you’re a little more uncertain, make sure you structure your bet around the size of the field and the probable payoffs.

If you like a longshot, the higher probable payoffs give you the cushion you need to wager on more combinations and still turn a nice profit.

But if you’re dealing with favorites or horses at relatively low odds, you have to wager more efficiently to preserve your profit.

In a field of six or less, you’re best to either focus on one horse or box two of them instead of boxing three or more horses because of the small payouts the bet will most likely generate.

In a field of seven, a wise strategy would be to box your top two choices and then, if you are worried about other horses, play them top and/or bottom other the other horses. For example, box 1-2, then bet 1-2 over 3-4 and 3-4 over 1-2. This way you are getting coverage on four horses without having to box them.

Once you get an eight-horse field, as long as there is not an overwhelming favorite, you can expand the number of horses you box since the payoffs will typically be higher, giving you a better opportunity to offset the inevitable array of losing tickets in a boxed wager.